PalmStar Media, Basil Iwanyk’s Thunder Road Set $200 Million in Annual Financing Deal

Basil Iwanyk thunder road
Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

PalmStar Media Capital has closed a multi-year financing agreement with Thunder Road Pictures, giving the production company access to more than $200 million in equity annually.

“Thunder Road has a long track record of success with both mid-size indie films and larger studio tentpoles,” company head Basil Iwanyk said. “This collaboration gives us tremendous flexibility in growing both sides of the business.”

Thunder Road will use the funds to fully finance and produce five to six “star-driven” independent films in the $20 to $50 million budget range per year, along with financing and co-financing the development and production of larger studio projects. The deal also provides more than $5 million in annual development capital for Thunder Road.

The deal comes at a time when studios are pulling back on mid-budget movies in order to focus on tentpoles and franchises.

Thunder Road and PalmStar said the partnership grew out of production of the Keanu Reeves action/thriller “John Wick,” which Lionsgate opens Friday. Palmstar is a financer, Iwanyk is a producer and Frakes is an exec producer on “John Wick.”

The companies have already announced their first film under the partnership: Jackie Chan’s “The Civilian,” with shooting starting in March and Pete Segal directing. The thriller was first unveiled in May at Cannes.

Thunder Road and Cutting Edge Group announced a slate financing deal in 2013 at Cannes with funds  secured against Thunder Road’s film music slate. Iwanyk’s producing credits include “Seventh Son,” “The Town,” “Clash of the Titans” and the upcoming “Gods of Egypt.”

The deal with Thunder Road is the second slate financing agreement announced by PalmStar this month. On Oct. 8, Frakes and production-financing veteran Bill Block (“Fury”) teamed with hedge fund Merced Capital L.P. to launch a $500 million slate of films under the Merced Media moniker.

PalmStar was founded in 2010 by Frakes and venture capitalist Peggy Taylor. It’s partnered with Merced Capital and has financed 30 films including “Term Life” with Vince Vaughn, “The Whole Truth” with Keanu Reeves, Lionsgate’s “American Ultra” with Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart and A24’s “Laggies” with Keira Knightly and Chloe Grace Moretz.

The deal was negotiated by Thunder Road’s Jonathan Fuhrman and by PalmStar’s attorney Jonathan Gardner of Cohen Gardner. CAA’s Micah Green represents Thunder Road.

Thunder Road is also repped by PJ Shapiro and Eric Sherman at Ziffren.

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